by Lauren Clark
Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.
But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.
Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.
Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.
“C.C.,” I exclaim, standing on tiptoes for an air kiss. “What a lovely surprise.”
She clears her throat, and I step back. “You haven’t greeted my Precious,” C.C. warns in a lilting voice, tilting her head toward the pink sequined bag hanging over her left forearm.
Precious? Like as in the Lord of the Rings? Surely she doesn’t mean…
A tiny black nose and beady eyes poke out of the bag.
“Eek!” I jump back and squeal, clapping a hand to my chest and dropping the keys.
The dog—if you can call it that—begins yipping and complaining like I’ve just whipped it with a cat o’ nine tails.
I freeze in place, flush a lovely shade of violet, and want to self-destruct; certain that I’ve committed what equates to a mortal sin in the world according to C.C. Anderson. She’s carrying her new puppy, a tiny Min-Pin; complete with pink collar and matching pink toenails.
“I’m so sorry—”
C.C. waves her own pink manicured fingernails an inch from my face.
“Mama’s poor little baby,” she coos in a high-pitched falsetto. “Are you okay, my sweetie-weetie, lovey girl?”
My jaw drops open slightly. I’ve never heard the woman utter a word of endearment toward any human being or living creature.
When I first dated Alton, I was almost certain that C.C., in fact, was among the un-dead. Five years ago, when she and Alton’s father decided to move to Atlanta—under the auspices of closer to their only son—I almost had him talked into buying some dove’s blood from Marie Laveau’s shop in New Orleans just to see if she’d drink it.
“Mama’s Precious will be all right, won’t she?” C.C. continues. “Searcy’s just a bad girl. She’ll do better, I promise, darling.”
It is my pleasure to welcome Lauren Clark, author of Pie Girls, to Room With Books.
Please tell me about Pie Girls and what inspired you to write it?
In Pie Girls, Searcy began the story as a bit of a spoiled princess, able to live a life of luxury, but when her husband drops the bomb that he’s leaving, she’s left with nothing. That rock-bottom place from which she re-starts her life really gives her strong moral fiber, compassion, and an ability to see the good in the simple things in life.
I was inspired to write it after visiting The Pie Lab in Greensboro, Alabama. It’s a great little place that serves delicious pies for breakfast and lunch (for example, savory quiches and taco pies, as well as fruit and chocolate pies). My grandmother was also a fabulous baker, and I included some of her recipes in the back of the novel!
When you start writing a new novel, do you outline the story or do your characters dictate what will happen?
I definitely outline the story, or I would end up off in all sorts of uncharted territory. I find that for me, taking the time to plot out a novel makes the whole process move more smoothly—and a little faster. I don’t waste a lot of time wondering what my characters are going to do next, I can just get right to work on the next scene or chapter. Of course, if a better idea for a scene comes along, I’m sure to incorporate it!
Do you ever have arguments with your characters and who usually wins?
That would be funny, but no. My characters sometimes veer off and act in unexpected ways, but it usually ends up being great for the storyline.
What is something about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I’m in graduate school pursuing a degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama. Our course of study includes a lot of adult learning theory and distance learning techniques. We also get to try out all of the cutting edge social media products, so that’s lots of fun.
If you could write with any other author who would it be?
Jodi Picoult. I think she’s a brilliant writer, and I am wowed by her character development. That said, I love Sophie Kinsella as well, and I’d love to work with her on a romantic comedy.
What did you dream of becoming when you grew up?
An Indian Princess. My mother, in particular, loves to remind me that I announced that to the world when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I don’t quite remember why I’d decided that, other than I read a lot as a child and had quite an imagination!
When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I spent 6 years in television news as a reporter and anchor first. I covered all sorts of stories, from house fires and murder trials to farming and county fairs. I met all sorts of interesting people, from state governors and elected officials to athletes, military leaders, and celebrities. The stories I enjoyed the most were the happy ones or the downright bizarre ones. I’ll never forget the day my cameraman and I were sent out to cover the case of a missing Emu.
When I left the TV biz and started my family, I had a whole host of ideas to write about. It’s been a long journey, as there’s a big learning curve in the transition from journalist to novelist, but it’s been worth every hour that I’ve put into it!
What music inspires your writing?
I don’t write with music on, but I generally like upbeat music (Maroon 5, Pharrell, Katy Perry) or a pop/country mix, like Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, or The Band Perry.
What is your favorite breakfast? Waffles and real maple syrup! Yum J
What is your favorite color? Pink.
What is your favorite movie? Love, Actually. The soundtrack is wonderful, also.
What is your dream car? I really adore my white Prius, but would love a black BMW 5-series (and then I would be at serious risk of having a speeding ticket, so better that I just keep the Prius)
Thank you, Lauren, for spending time with us today, and for having Room With Books as a participant in your tour!
Lauren Clark writes contemporary Southern novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.
She is the author of four award-winning novels, Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stay Tuned, Stardust Summer, and Pie Girls, as well as a short story, A Very Dixie Christmas, published in the Merry & Bright holiday collection. Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association and the Mobile Writers Guild. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.
Lauren will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
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